Just as a record of this part of my journey I will not take down this first indication of my serious interest in a run at politics. That post, followed soon after by this one, are the most viewed posts of this blog ever, at least since I switched to WordPress.
For the past few days I have been talking myself down from the ledge that would have been a leap into the nomination race for the NDP in the federal riding of Toronto Centre. I’ll try not to imagine how many people wondered if I was
crazy taking all my medications.
No one has discouraged me, not by any means, but those who know me best (or, in some cases, those who know the process best) expressed genuine concerns for my health, both physical and mental. I’ve walked through the valley of the shadow of death enough to take those worries seriously.
Besides, Toronto Centre New Democrats need to find a candidate capable of rising to Bob Rae’s rhetorical skills, who can tirelessly remind voters in this riding that Bob Rae bungled his majority government’s chance to pass equal rights legislation (Bill 167) for same-sex couples. Of course we eventually won this battle, but it was no thanks to Bob Rae the man who would now – in a different party – presume to represent a riding with one of the largest LGBT demographics in Canada. Bob Rae’s very name polarizes Ontarians and, unfortunately, the NDP – which he never really seemed to have his heart in anyway – still lives with that legacy.
Think Bob Rae, think ‘Rae days’, a collective agreement-busting, Liberal idea if ever there was one. Even before Rae could hope to be back in Parliament, the current crop of federal Liberals, beholden to CEOs, voted against anti-scab legislation and now would propose their own version – like crack addicts who steal your wallet and then help you look for it.
There’s no reason to believe that Rae will not do to the Liberal brand what he did to his former party. Perhaps he’ll use a little more lube this time.
No, I am convinced that I can do my best work behind the scenes in the campaign, whenever it comes, maintaining and expanding the membership rolls, blogging freely, speaking truth to Power (Corporation) and Rae’s other friends. I would have been a sacrificial lamb, a lamb kebob if you will, whether or not I had ever had a remote chance of winning the nomination.
This exercise, as semi-private as it has been, has reminded me – with keen new insight – what it means to offer one’s self for elected public service. It is a huge decision, one which rises above the knee-jerk cynicism so prevalent today (although, of course, there are still some politicians who never should have been elected to take out the trash). The stakes, particularly the potential toll on one’s personal life and that of one’s family, are enormous.
So…the candidate search process in Toronto Centre continues, which I will now be part of, and we need to unite behind another serious person of integrity with boundless energy and a passion to tear down the presumptive airs surrounding one of the newest residents of Rosedale – the tonier edges of this riding.
Something tells me, with the right candidate, there will be no shortage of volunteers to take on Robert Keith (Bob) Rae, PC, OC, O.Ont, QC, B.A., LL.B, B.Phi., LL.D (h.c.) whose Wikipedia entry notes that he is “currently involved in crafting” the Liberal election platform.
Late news, which actually preceded the revealing of my decision to a riding association insider, is that someone, who I do not know personally (yet) but whom I would be very pleased to see in the nomination race, will be announcing tomorrow or Thursday.